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Gilman Scholarship Spotlight: Frankie Bademci ’23

Summer study in France provided an artistic breakthrough.

Frankie Bademci ’23 is a multidisciplinary artist and performer who’s ventured into new art forms while at Purchase, especially during a study abroad experience in France last summer on a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Arts All Around

Raised with an appreciation for the arts, Bademci knew theatre in particular. “I grew up in a Shakespearean household—both my mom and dad are classical actors, and I spent a lot of time with them in rehearsals.”

He came to Purchase intent on becoming an actor, but during his sophomore year, he broke through artistic boundaries. His “rewarding mix” of majors tells the story—the senior double majors in New Media and Theatre and Performance, with minors in Art History and Museum Studies.

Open to Opportunity

Now pursuing paths in performance art, sculpture, video, and installation, he’s learned to be open to new things, a lesson reinforced during the summer he spent in Antibes, France.

On the fence about studying theatre in Prague or visual art in Antibes, he chose France—despite his lack of practical experience—to study with artist Rachel Owens, associate professor of sculpture.

“While I do not draw much or have a traditional practice in sculpture, I knew I wanted to study with Rachel Owens,” he says. “Professor Owens has a rich and diverse artistic background.”

The competitive Gilman Scholarship helped pave the way. Bademci was both surprised and proud after the daunting application process.

“My application to the Gilman Scholarship took me many many hours: editing essays, rebuilding, and drafting my CV and resume, as well as writing personal statements,” he says. “I am proud of my dedication to this application and for being able to study abroad.”

Setting Aside Fear

One big takeaway from his experience—overcoming fear to try new things, including experimenting with new art forms.

“I had started a new project while I was there: using a handheld projector to display text on the low tide,” he says. “I had not worked with projections as a medium before this, although Professor Owens and I spoke about this piece, and I remember her support for and critique of my idea.”

See the work “feu et l’eau” on Instagram.

Travel Continues

A trip to study in Berlin immediately following Antibes proved formative as well. He spent four weeks studying theatre technique with Thomas Prattki at ArtHaus Berlin on a separate scholarship and sponsorship he secured for himself.

“I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with such an important figure in the devised sector of theatre,” he says. “There, I studied Lecoq technique and mask work that is the basis of Commedia dell’arte. Thomas Prattki was the pedagogical director of Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, which is one of the most important, to me, techniques in theatre and performance.”

He hopes to return to Berlin to the incredible connections he made in both the performance and visual art scenes. “I had never been to Berlin before,” he says. “It is one of the most open-minded cities I have been to….I made a great group of friends and began my network in the fine arts communities.”

Next Steps

He plans to pursue an MFA in Sculpture after graduation and sees himself working in the nonprofit arts, evidence of which is the work he’s doing this semester at the Neuberger Museum of Art.

He’s the curatorial and production assistant to the curator of education for a groundbreaking exhibition series on performance art, Hard Return: 9 Experiments for this Moment, on view beginning February 1, 2023.

While the restrictions of the pandemic sparked Bademci’s desire to travel, the Gilman Scholarship made it possible.

“It was an incredible opportunity, and I am immensely grateful to have been selected for it.”

Bademci created performance work in Washington Square Park last fall in support of the Iranian protests against oppression of women.

Frankie Bademci '23, hear no evil, see no evil (2022), public performance, Washington Square Park...

Frankie Bademci '23, hear no evil, see no evil (2022),public performance, Washington Square Park,...

Frankie Bademci ’23, hear no evil, see no evil (2022), public performance, Washington Square Park, New York, NY